A Generation Gap on Social Access

Considering the short history of the social web, it’s hard to remember the enormous change announced just eight years ago. That’s when Facebook stopped being available exclusively to users with a .edu e-mail address.

With that obstacle removed parents and grandparents surged into the cyberspace frequented by college-aged students and alums. And although the barrier is down, companies need to keep in mind that the generations reach the social web in very different ways.

Part 8 of Untangling the Social Web, the new study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, clearly identifies a wide disparity of methods used to access the social web.

For example, shoppers over the age of 45 are most likely to access the social web through a computer. They use laptops or desktops around 67 percent of the time and mobile phones about one third as often. That contrasts sharply with 18-24 year olds who use computers and smartphones equally.

Businesses should consider these usage patterns when designing visuals and planning the best way to convey messages via social media.

Part 8 of Untangling the Social Web may be downloaded for free at http://www.ccrrc.org.

Michael Sansolo
Research Director
Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America
http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Internal Roadblocks Hamper Social Web Success

The rapid emergence of the social web has left many businesses — retailers included — unsure of how to best use these new communication resources to build sales, profits and loyalty.

One key element of part 8 of Untangling the Social Web, the latest study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, was an examination of the internal front lines of the social web. Drawing insights from a wide range of companies, the Council garnered a clear picture of some of the challenges.

Many internal social web managers say the potential benefits of the technology are being limited by internal silos that hamper communication and restrict the resources for this new area. In many if not all companies, additional people, disciplines and infrastructure are necessary.

But money isn’t the only problem. Social web leaders say companies must learn the culture of the social web to enable the kind of broad communication and partnership that shoppers seek. In many ways, shoppers’ disappointment in social web offerings from the retail food industry reflects these internal issues.

Both shoppers and internal experts agree that engagement on the social web will remain limited until companies understand how to more broadly communicate through these new channels.

More insights into customer and internal concerns about the social web can be found inside part 8 of the report, now available at no charge at http://www.ccrrc.org. In addition, parts 6 and 7 can be used to help create guidelines for internal and external communication on the social web.

Also, hear my FMI Webinar “Key Steps to Business Social Media Success” at

https://fmi.adobeconnect.com/_a828399537/p8692ja0ii1/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal

Michael Sansolo
Research Director
Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America
http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Different Webs for Different Needs

In just a decade, Facebook has gone from a college-based social web site to a near global force. Not surprisingly, Facebook plays a large role among shoppers and shopping trips.

More than 90 percent of shoppers say they use Facebook to plan shopping or menus because they find the massive social web site offers the broadest range of content and functions. However, the time shoppers spend focused on food is relatively brief on Facebook and many other social sites.

In fact, only Pinterest seems to generate different interaction and is the only social site where shoppers spend significant time gathering recipes or inspiration. In addition, some of the newer image-heavy sites such as Vine, Snapchat or Instagram seem to provide opportunities for different types of use.

One of the key findings in part 8 of Untangling the Social Web, the latest study from the
Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, is that the social web keeps adding new avenues and ways of interacting. For businesses of all kinds, that means it’s increasingly important to keep an eye on these emerging sites to understand how to best engage shoppers using them.

If the stunning growth of Facebook or Twitter has demonstrated anything, it is that a small web site can become incredibly popular very, very quickly.

Copies of the study can be obtained for free at http://ccrrc.org/2014/05/15/untangling-the-social-web-insights-for-users-brands-and-retailers/.

Also, hear my FMI Webinar “Key Steps to Business Social Media Success” at

https://fmi.adobeconnect.com/_a828399537/p8692ja0ii1/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal

Michael Sansolo
Research Director
Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America
http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Social Impact

Although use of social media for grocery shopping is only just beginning, we can already see the tremendous impact of a variety of platforms on consumer behavior. But only part of that influence is coming from retail or brand companies themselves.

In part 8 of Untangling the Social Web, the latest study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, the Integer Group surveyed shoppers about how much they rely on social media for their shopping trips. The study found that more than one-fourth of supermarket purchases today reflect some influence, with the number expected to rise sharply in the near future.

Although a large number of shoppers follow local supermarkets on the web, especially via Facebook, most say the important influence is coming from friends, family and news sources. Shoppers say these are their primary sources for information, not brands or retailers directly.

More insights on the social web’s impact can be found in the study, a free download at http://www.ccrrc.org.

Also, hear my FMI Webinar “Key Steps to Business Social Media Success” at

https://fmi.adobeconnect.com/_a828399537/p8692ja0ii1/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal

Michael Sansolo
Research Director
Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America
http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today is Only the Start

A challenge many businesses face in understanding the power of the social web is determining how important it could be in the future. The answer from part 8 of Untangling the Social Web, the latest study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, is clear. (The study is available for a free download at http://www.ccrrc.org.)

The potential of the social web is huge.

Although the social web as we know it is only 10 years old, it already is a force in shaping shopping trips. More than one-third of shoppers say they use it regularly as a tool to simplify grocery shopping, while 57 percent use it for non-food shopping.

But that’s just the start. Shoppers say they would more heavily use the social web for grocery shopping if the content offered by retailers was more compelling. And either way, about half of those currently not engaged say that will change over the coming five years.

In other words, we could be looking at 55 to 65 percent of shoppers using the social web to plan shopping trips, menus and meals in just a few years, which means content and influence across all categories could grow substantially.

Additional insights from this study, including the impact of the retailers that created it, will be part of the council’s special presentation June 12 at FMI Connect 2014 in Chicago. More information about the presentation can be found at http://fmi14.mapyourshow.com/5_0/sessions/sessiondetails.cfm?ScheduledSessionID=1AA0

Michael Sansolo
Research Director
Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America
http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Attract More Business with a New Growth Platform

When a convenience retailer has a good handle on how to deliver the basics and is comfortable defending their turf, it is ready to attract more business. By deploying a new growth platform that reaches beyond shoppers’ grab and go needs, operators give customers an additional reason to visit. Such an effort could tap into consumers’ desire for food and beverages that are “a little better for you” or to take a short break during a hectic day.

The new “Get in the Game” report from the NACS / CCRRC reveals how three leading convenience retailers launched new growth platforms and achieved positive results.
• Two retailers moved to what the Council calls “the fresh value fast” platform, offering a new line of fresh food that gave shoppers the option to buy a salad, yogurt or “better for you” snack in addition to other foodservice offerings. These operators:
• Extended their stores’ appeal and sold new products with the help of new partners.
• Remerchandised their outlets to showcase the new product line.
• Increased net sales due to the new product line, appealing to new and existing customers.
• The other retailer highlighted female-friendly products already in the store, and made the entrance and in-store environment more inviting to women. These changes drove a significant increase in sales of select products without interfering with the operator’s ability to meet the needs of its traditional shoppers.

While some convenience retailers have shared with me their concern that the female-friendly growth platform may be hard to implement, this case study demonstrates it can be worth the effort. Want more inspiration? Get a complimentary copy of the “Get in the Game” report at http://www.ccrrc.org.

Bill Bishop

Research Director

NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council

Founder, Willard Bishop LLC and Chief Architect BrickMeetsClick

http://www.brickmeetsclick.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going Social for Supermarket Shopping

COLA05630013_RESRCH_RPRT_ED8
Shoppers surveyed for part 8 of Untangling the Social Web, the latest study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, say the social web is now engrained in their habits and they only foresee greater use in the years to come.

According to the study, more than one-third of supermarket shoppers now acknowledge that the social web is part of their shopping trip — either before, during or after — yet the numbers suggest significant possibilities for growth.

For example, while 36 percent of shoppers use the social web while considering supermarket products, that’s nearly 10 percentage points less than those using it for shopping in general. But the gap could disappear quickly as more than half of those not using the social web for shopping expect their behavior to change in the near future.

Additional insights from this study, including the impact of the retailers that created it, will be part of the council’s special presentation June 12 at FMI Connect 2014 in Chicago. Copies of the study may be obtained for free at http://www.ccrrc.org.

Michael Sansolo
Research Director
Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America
http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unlocking Opportunities with Shopper Research

GrowthPlatforms

“Get in the Game” — a new report from the NACS / CCRRC — showcases how convenience retailers use advice provided in the previously published Playbook for Success to defend their turf and attract new business. Based on in-depth research with thousands of operators, the three-step guide helps c-stores better align with and meet their customers’ needs.

“Get in the Game” highlights how some retailers use shopper research to “scout the opportunity” before executing an initiative. For example, it demonstrates that a simple survey, designed to identify shopper satisfaction, can guide an operator to develop an action plan that leads to success. Case studies include:

• A six-store convenience retailer, that found a survey to be “a simple and affordable way” to collect customer feedback, identified how to defend its existing business and strengthen several categories to grow sales.
• A forty-store chain that employed a survey discovered that although it received strong customer satisfaction scores, the business would benefit from working on the basics.

“Market basket missions,” another shopper research tool addressed in the latest report, analyzes the combination of products purchased during a transaction. This helps operators determine the needs customers wanted to satisfy on each visit and supports their merchandise planning activities.

Imagine how much more you could grow your business if you leveraged shopper research to focus your efforts. Learn how by reading the “Get in the Game” report available at no charge at http://www.ccrrc.org.

Bill Bishop

Research Director

NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council

Founder, Willard Bishop LLC and Chief Architect BrickMeetsClick

http://www.brickmeetsclick.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Making Friends

Winning over shoppers through the social web requires careful attention to all the best time-honored retail strategies, with recognition that discussions and connections are simply moving at new speed. The Integer Group, the firm handling this new study of the social web for the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council, offers up some key suggestions in the newest section of this report.

  1. Give shoppers a reason to like your brand on the social web. If you want to make connections in big numbers you need to provide benefits like special discounts or other promotions. And remember to make your web presence is interesting. There is a reason that pop stars have millions of followers and most stores do not.
  2. Be subtle with your marketing. Remember, this is about community and you want to be a trusted friend in places like Facebook. Market too hard and your connections may turn you off.
  3. Allow easy sharing of deals and information. It’s all about networking and you want your shopper friends to share the benefits they get with others to drive even more attention to you on the social web and at your stores.
  4. Recognize that shoppers like coupons and discount sites, so figure out how to engage in a productive way. Remember, your competition can be using sites like Groupon to build traffic and you need to keep a careful eye on all these activities.
  5. Don’t stop what you are doing. Your information and your page needs to be refreshed constantly so shoppers have a reason to come back time and again.

These insights and more can be found in the third section of this new study, easily downloaded at www.ccrrc.org. Just look for it in the section marked “North America.”

 

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America

http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Social Networking Like High School?

Understanding how groups and connections form on social networking sites can be as simple as remembering the strange development of cliques and social circles in high school. People self-select into specific groupings and what they say can build or destroy reputations. Some groups are inclusive and some exclusive, plus fun and exciting people seem to attract a crowd.

It was that way in the high school cafeteria and it’s the same on the social web. Of course, there is one huge difference. High schools students are all roughly the same age and from a single geographic area, while the social web is far more diverse. The latest research finds that 15% of social web users are under the age of 18, 39% are between 18 and 34 and 46% are 35 and older.

Yet the social circles or areas of interest in the social web are very familiar. Users tend to find a fairly specific group of social media categories to spend their time:

  • Location—complete with localized reviews and guides
  • Networking—either professional or personal and increasingly reliant on mobile devices
  • Gaming—places for leisure
  • News and publications—for blogs, news updates and wikis
  • Sharing—photos, videos, music and links
  • Discussion—forums, FAQs and commentary
  • And, of course, commerce—for shopping, opinions, reviews and inspiration.

The two most widely used sites: Google and Facebook serve as a center for all this activity, helping users move from circle to circle depending on their needs and pointing the way to areas of activity.

What’s amazing about the whole arena of social networking is how quickly it has blossomed into a global phenomenon, since its invention in the 1990s. Even Facebook, by far the largest of all sites, began only eight years ago on a single college campus. Today it is cited as a global force for political change and certainly a level of societal connection never seen before.

Businesses seeking to get a sense of how to build a social networking strategy need to understand how the social web grew up and how it is developing. Details on both of these elements can be found in Part 1 of a recently released study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America. Check out the report, authored by The Integer Group, at www.ccrrc.org (under Councils – North America page) and look for additional sections and discussion of this new report.

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America

http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment